Formula 1 News

$100m is the going rate to avoid a bribery conviction

Bernie Ecclestone

Last week news emerged that Bernie Ecclestone was likely to buy his way out of the bribery charges laid against him in a German court. Today, The Independent reports Eccelstone will pay US$100m to settle the case. That money will go to the German state of Bavaria and, astonishingly, Bernie says they should build a new Formula 1 track with the money.

“It seems that we will be successful in the settlement,” Ecclestone’s lawyer Sven Thomas revealed. “The amount is not confidential. They are talking about $100m.

“The $100m is for the state of Bavaria. Maybe they will try and build a circuit. I will propose this—that they should build a nice circuit.”

So, in a way Bernie is hoping to turn this court case into an investment opportunity for him. Talk about no shame!

Crucially, the terms of the settlement under German law will see that all charges against Ecclestone are withdrawn.

“It is a settlement without any conviction, the presumption of innocence is still valid. That was a condition under which I negotiated,” Thomas added.

At worst Ecclestone was facing up to 10-years in jail if he was found guilty. Last November Donald Mackenzie, co-founder of CVC the owners of Formula 1, said he was prepared to end Bernie’s reign as F1 supremo.

“If it is proven that Mr Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong, we would fire him,” Mackenzie said.

The allegations of bribery began to stumble in court when chief witness Gerhard Gribkowsky, already serving jail time for his part in the saga, said he did not question why he was paid £27 million by Ecclestone while negotiating for the sale of Formula 1 to CVC.

“I never asked myself that question,” Gribkowsky told the court. “I’m still annoyed with myself for that today.”

Ecclestone further added it was the prosecution who initiated settlement talks.

“The prosecutors said, ‘Do we want to have a chat about it?’ That is what started it,” Ecclestone claimed. “We didn’t ask them, they asked us.”

Sometimes being a fan of Formula 1 really stinks.

[Source: The Independent | Pic: AFP]

7 replies on “$100m is the going rate to avoid a bribery conviction”

So he is paying the German governments $100m bribe so he can get off with his bribery charges…

So what’s the difference between this and businesses paying bribes to govt officials in corrupted countries? This is just weird.

From a purely financial point of view it’s a great deal for Bavaria. Instead of footing the bill for Bernie’s jail time, whiich appeared to be increasingly unlikely, they get $100m of Bernie’s monopoly money to play with.

Never mind the justice, haha.

That the state is even willing to entertain a settlement shows that they must think there’s a fair chance that pushing on with the case has a big chance of the case failing and Bernie being found not guilty getting away completely unpunished.

A settlement is not as good as a conviction, but it’s still a lot better than an acquittal.

Comments are closed.